The Online Journal of the Art of Magic
Magic - My Way
Occasionally, I read through the topics and posts at another wonderful magic website, themagiccafe, seeking inspiration for articles here on Visions. During my browsing at themagiccafe, I found an interesting topic that I thought might be perfect for me to share my thoughts on with all of the readers of Visions. The original thread of posts can be found here.
The basic topic question is, "What do you do or say if you accidentally drop some of your cards while performing a card effect"? I had not realized that this topic was of much interest to many, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that nearly every magician, no matter how skilled one may be with a deck of cards, has, at one point, accidentally dropped a few cards during his or her performance and it would be nice to have a strategy or, at least, a good line to combat this embarrassing situation.
The more you perform
with playing cards, the more cards you will drop. It is common sense.
During the course of my career I have dropped countless amounts of cards
while performing. You may have
To save you the trouble
of having to think on your feet, should you be even less adept at ad-libbing
than handling cards, I have collected a wide variety of stock lines and
useful information on this specific topic from which you can pick and
choose which ideas and lines you like, then apply it when you find your
cards falling for you. Some of the lines I have included below are used
by other performers, so please be considerate and use your best judgment
in selecting and using any of the following lines. Please feel free to
use any of the lines in which I personally supply; you will see a "~
What do you do if you drop the deck? This question primarily applies to those who perform walk-around, strolling, or table-hopping card magic, as you rarely tend to drop that many cards when working on a tabletop but it does happen occasionally. In my opinion, after dropping the cards, you have three choices. First, you can pick up the cards yourself and continue performing. Second, you can enlist the help of one of the spectators and ask them to kindly help you in picking up the cards. Last, you can leave the cards on the floor and move onto a different effect, ignoring them until the conclusion of your performance.
"No no, that's ok. I'll get them. Don't help or anything. I wouldn't want to trouble any of you. You wouldn't do it right anyway." ~ Inspired by David Acer. This line is said with a bit of comical sarcasm.
you ain't getting away that easily" ~ Michael Matson
If you drop some cards,
but the selected card has already been controlled to the top of the deck,
meaning you still have it in your possession, this is the perfect opportunity
to go right into the Fred Kap's effect that Bill Malone calls, "I
Should Have Done It Myself" on Volume 1 of his On the Loose
GET SOMEONE ELSE
TO DO IT
mind helping me in my moment of human weakness?" ~ Michael Matson
mind?" ~ Jeff Hobson, World Greatest Magic 2.
A small running joke
is, after you drop a few cards, to pick up some cards yourself as the
spectator picks up some, then occasionally toss or spring a few cards
behind the spectator when they are not looking and claim that they missed
a few behind them. As they continuously pick up cards, you could use the
line, "Have you ever helped a magician before? Well, you're not
helping one now!" ~
You should always
carry a spare deck with you when performing for a professional gig. I
always carry at least one extra deck on my person, even if you have to
put it into your sock because your pockets are filled with other magic
props. Yes, I have actually kept an extra sealed deck in my sock
If I am handling cards
at a restaurant, table-hopping, or strolling gig I normally use an approach
similar to this one: "Greetings! My name is Michael Matson, if
you watch closely and practice
One abstract thought: If you use a gravity-related line after dropping the cards i.e. - "Gravity sucks", "Gravity, not just a good idea - it's the law", "A sudden gust of gravity", etc. I think a nice follow-up would be to do a card rise while claiming that you are adjusting the gravity.
If you drop your deck of cards and decide to leave those cards on the floor while you continue with your performance, please remember to pick up all of the fallen cards before moving onto entertaining a different group. This is for safety reasons, as people walking by at the event in which you are entertaining may slip on them and injure themselves.
Now, I would like
to offer a variety of lines that I use in my everyday work. Many of the
lines are delivered with quite a bit of acting finesse. In addition, some
of the following lines are spoken directly to the cards.Treating the cards
as living, breathing characters further enhances the
STOCK LINES & EXTRA IDEAS
Just look down at the cards on the floor and, softly yet in an exaggerated manner, begin to weep.
"Now I gotta stack them all over again!" ~ Michael Matson
"Needs work..." ~ Used by others
"I can't work under these conditions!" ~ Used by others
"I forgot! They're ticklish!" ~ Michael Matson
"Bless you! Poor babies got a cold." ~ Michael Matson (Talking to the deck)
they haven't been themselves since... the accident. We don't like to talk
"I gotta get a real job." ~ Used by countless others
"Clean Up! Aisle 5!" ~ Michael Matson
"And you thought I wasn't going to be entertaining." ~ Michael Matson
"Someone will be along shortly to clean that up. That's why we have unions." ~ Inspired by David Williamson
"You didn't really want to meet THOSE cards anyway. They're the outcasts. The deck is better off without them." ~ Michael Matson. This line is delivered in a hushed tone.
"I'm not as gifted/skilled as the real magicians." ~ Inspired by David Williamson
"I'll level with you. I'm not really a magician, I'm just filling in for the other guy, but he's in jail right now so you're much better off with me." ~ Michael Matson
"Phew.. they're a lot heavier than I remember." ~ Michael Matson
"About time you lost some weight!" ~ Michael Matson (Talking to the deck)
"Aren't you glad I'm not a surgeon?" ~ Michael Matson
"Nobody panic! I know just what to do!" ~ Michael Matson At this point, I act like I'm calling someone on my cellphone and, in an exaggerated near crying tone, I say, "Mom, it happened again!"
"I'm just going to use those to mark where the lighting is good!" ~ Saw a similar line at t the magic cafe website.
"If I don't do that every 15 minutes, I can't find my way home at the end of the night." ~ Michael Matson
"That would have never happened if I were using a trick deck." ~ Michael Matson
"Now the host is going to beat me! Don't tell him!" ~ Michael Matson
"Bad Cards!" (Begin slapping the deck) "Who's your daddy?" ~ Used by others
"I'm too young & cute for this kind of stress!" ~ Michael Matson
"It's not just the ladies that fall for me." ~ Michael Matson
"Whoa... earthquake. About a .3 - you probably didn't feel it because it's so subtle, but I'm just a sensitive guy." ~ Michael Matson
"My magic is so good even the cards worship at my feet." ~ Michael Matson
"I meant to do that... much, much later in the show." ~ Michael Matson
"Where were you on that one? You were supposed to catch them. You're fired!" ~ Michael Matson (Spoken to spectator in a comical manner)
"They're on strike! They think they have a good union, but they don't.They're practically slaves." ~ Futurama
"Narcolepsy! Sometimes they just FALL... asleep. Looks like I'm driving home tonight." ~ Michael Matson
"Come on guys don't bail out on me now! I need you guys! You're part of the team! Now, you get back in the game!" ~ Michael Matson (Talking to cards)
"Takes a true professional to drop the cards with such grace!" ~ Michael Matson
"Up Boys... Up! ... They're still in training." ~ Michael Matson
"Pull yourself together! We're professionals!" ~ Michael Matson
"Looks like the glue is wearing off." ~ Michael Matson
"I could have sworn I fixed that!" ~ Michael Matson (Pick up the cards and riffle the end of the deck so it appears as though you are winding and tightening them in place.)
"You should have told me you had to go before leaving the house!" ~ Michael Matson (Talking to the cards)
"When you gotta go, you gotta go." ~ Michael Matson. Obviously a well-known line that I use in this context.
"FREEDOM! Godspeed little buddies!" ~ Michael Matson
"I just want
all of you to know... I'm not mad... I'm just very disappointed."
~ Michael Matson
"Oh No! This is the worst 23 card pile-up I have ever seen! Everyone give them some air." ~ Michael Matson. If I decide to pick up the fallen cards, I bend down and give a playing card CPR to milk the laughs, then gather up the cards.
I'm sorry, but did you see the size of that spider on top of the deck?"
~ Michael Matson. Follow up with JimPace's Web trick!
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